The Washington Commanders will have a new owner by the time the 2023 NFL season begins. NFL owners are expected to vote to approve Josh Harris as Washington’s new owner on July 20.
When Harris takes over, he’ll have a lot on his plate. There are the stadium talks, winning back over fans and the status of the current front office and coaching staff.
Regardless of what happens during the season, Washington’s front office will be busy next winter. The Commanders have 33 players set to hit unrestricted free agency in 2024. And while Washington has locked up core players like Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Terry McLaurin, there will be a lot of work to do next offseason.
Here are 17 of those Commanders’ free agents in 2024 — and there are some big names here.
WR Curtis Samuel
After missing most of his first season in Washington due to injury, Samuel bounced back last season. He’ll be a big part of offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s offense in 2023; with Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Dyami Brown already on the roster, the Commanders could look to spend elsewhere.
QB Jacoby Brissett
Brissett signed a one-year deal with the Commanders. Sam Howell is expected to start, but if he struggles, Washington will turn to Brissett. Brissett has established himself enough to this point that he can continue signing lucrative one-year-deals.
DE Montez Sweat
The Commanders want to keep Sweat. But they can’t do anything until Harris officially takes over. Signing Sweat now could be cheaper than if they wait. But there is also the concern that if they pay Sweat and Chase Young reaches double-digit sacks, they have no chance of keeping Young or controlling his rights for 2024 unless they use the franchise tag.
DE Chase Young
Washington made headlines when it chose not to exercise Young’s fifth-year option. There were arguments for both sides, but you can’t blame the Commanders for choosing to guarantee over $17 million for Young in 2024. If Young has a big season, he’ll get paid handsomely — in Washington or elsewhere.
CB Kendall Fuller
The Commanders love Fuller. He’s been outstanding for the past three seasons overall. However, he is entering his eighth NFL season, and Washington just drafted Emmanuel Forbes in the first round. Fuller is a terrific player and leader, but this is another position where the Commanders may choose to spend elsewhere.
S Kamren Curl
Sweat and Curl are two priorities for the Commanders once Harris takes over. Will Harris allow the current front office to extend these players? Or is everyone in “prove-it mode” for 2023? Curl is a major piece of Washington’s defense, but the Commanders have several young safeties, such as Darrick Forrest and Percy Butler. It’s worth keeping an eye on.
S Jeremy Reaves
Reaves is another major priority for the Commanders. Not only is Reaves a key reserve on defense, but he’s also an All-Pro on special teams. The intangibles he brings are immeasurable. If you are betting on one free agent getting an extension done soon, Reaves is probably your best bet.
RB Antonio Gibson
Gibson is slated for a big role in Bieniemy’s offense in 2023. Washington will employ the screen game more, and the former college wide receiver will have more opportunities to catch passes out of the backfield. The Commanders drafted Chris Rodriguez Jr. in the sixth round to likely replace Gibson in 2024.
DE Efe Obada
Things worked out so well between Washington and Obada last season they brought him back in 2023. With so many free agents in 2024, could Obada return again on another cheap one-year deal?
OT Cornelius Lucas
Lucas has signed two two-year contracts with Washington. Lucas has been forced to play more than expected since he signed in 2020. He has played right and left tackle over the past three seasons and held his own. Lucas will turn 33 in 2024, so this season could be his last in Washington.
LB Cody Barton
This is a one-year, prove-it deal for Barton. He wanted to sign somewhere he could be the starting middle linebacker and call plays. If he succeeds, he could be a part of the future plans. If he doesn’t, he may be behind Khaleke Hudson.
LB Khaleke Hudson
A huge opportunity awaits Hudson in 2023. While he isn’t slated to start, he’s run with the starters throughout the offseason and continues to earn praise. Coaches and players trust Hudson. And it looks like he’s finally comfortable on defense after being a standout on special teams.
DE James Smith-Williams
Another successful former seventh-round pick, James Smith-Williams, has played a lot more than expected through three seasons. He’s played well. While he will never put up big sack numbers, Smith-Williams is an excellent role player. The Commanders would probably love to keep Smith-Williams around.
DE Casey Toohill
A lot of what we said about Smith-Williams applies to Toohill. Another solid role player who has provided excellent depth for Washington.
K Joey Slye
If Joey Slye can remain consistent in 2023, Washington would likely extend him. Reliable kickers are hard to find. Slye has had some good moments with the Commanders, but he’s battled consistency issues at times.
G Saahdiq Charles
A massive opportunity awaits Charles. Injuries have hampered his career thus far, but the Commanders believe he can be their left guard for 2023 and beyond. He’ll need to beat out Chris Paul. If he can remain healthy, he’s another candidate for an extension. Washington wants to see Charles play a complete season first, though.
C Tyler Larsen
Larsen continues to sign one-year deals with Washington. But with Nick Gates and Ricky Stromberg also under contract for 2024, Washington could move on from Larsen, who has also battled injuries recently.